FIFA wants uniform global use of VAR, says refs chief Collina

FIFA's Referees' Committee chairman Pierluigi Collina said that the football body is looking to implement VAR uniformly across all competitions.

Collina said FIFA wanted to avoid situations where players in an international tournament faced surprise decisions with VAR.   -  ap

FIFA wants Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system to be applied in the same way across all competitions, as it takes over direct responsibility for the system.

Issues concerning VAR have been handled primarily by International Football Association Board (IFAB), the game's law-making body, during the system's two-year experimental phase and its introduction as part of the laws of the game.

Football's global governing body FIFA, however, took over the role of supporting competition organisers with the implementation of VAR from July 1.

Pierluigi Collina, the Italian former World Cup referee and chairman of FIFA's Referees' Committee, said the move was a “natural transition”.

“IFAB as an organisation has the duty to govern the laws of football, including VAR and the protocol and regulations. Once the laws of the game are set, IFABs job is over,” he told Reuters.

“It is then FIFA that deals with referees' education around the world supporting all the member associations.”

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There have been some variations in the use of VAR in different competitions and national leagues, but Collina said there should be a uniform approach.

“Another responsibility of FIFAs is to have the laws of the game implemented all over the world in the same way, there cannot be different implementation of the laws of the game in different continents or different countries. Our responsibility is to ensure that football is played in the same way all over the world.

“Can you imagine in international competition played by teams who are used to having different interpretations of the laws of the game in their domestic competition? Saying that VAR should be used in the same way all over the world is something obvious.

“Of course there can be some small differences, but the general implementation should be the same.

“It is FIFA and IFAB's responsibility to have the game played the same way across the world, for the benefit of those who are playing,” he said.

The Premier League has not used VAR to check for encroachment off the line by goalkeepers during penalty kicks despite that element being part of the protocol.

Speaking generally, Collina said FIFA wanted to avoid situations where players in an international tournament faced surprise decisions.

“If something is written in the laws of the game, it has to be implemented everywhere, otherwise can you imagine the surprise of someone who is penalised for something in an international game that he is not penalised for at home?

“Maybe they would not be aware of what they can do? If something in the laws of the game doesnt work, then it is discussed and eventually changed by IFAB,” he said.

Safety net

“Another thing to be considered (is) a sort of wrong idea of solidarity,” Collina said. “If you belong to a team, you always try to protect your team mates. If your team mate made a mistake you try to find everything to say 'no, no, no, he was correct'.

“It's a sort of friendship I'd say. Referees must understand the solidarity and friendship that they want to show is to tell their colleague 'be careful, you might have made a mistake'.

“'It's better that you have another chance watching the incident on a monitor, you have assessed probably wrongly,' so that finally you can avoid a mistake.”

Former World Cup referee Collina, 60, said wrong decisions taken in important games can “really kill a referee's career.”

“VAR is a very important safety net,” he added.

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